John Lewis has opened two national distribution centres at its 2.4 million sq ft Magna Park Campus in Milton Keynes.
The new sites – Magna Park 2 and 3 – will create 500 jobs, which will double at peak times
The department store group said the facilities will provide ‘fast and efficient online and shop replenishment’.
The £150 million investment is part of a five-year £500 million spend into online systems and distribution network.
Magna Park 2 and 3 will work alongside Magna Park 1, a £100 million investment which opened in 2009.
The new distribution centres are part of John Lewis’s anticipation of changing customer needs, which has seen the percentage of customer orders being delivered move from 4% to 47% in the last 10 years.
The retailer said the centres will set the business up for peak trading, which last year saw online sales grow by 21.4% compared to the previous year. Over the Black Friday weekend, John Lewis distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than the previous year, which equated to five units per second during the peak hour.
Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis said: “These new state-of-the-art-facilities are the latest piece in the John Lewis distribution jigsaw. Our customers expect the John Lewis customer experience, not just in our shops, but at every stage of their purchase.
“Not only will this help customers receive their orders quicker and in fewer parcels (by consolidating fashion and non-fashion items into one delivery), but fewer driving miles (190,000 less miles will be covered by delivery vehicles) and less packaging will help reduce our operational emissions and waste.
“Our distribution operations are at the heart of our business and these advanced facilities enable us to adapt to the ever-evolving retail market. This investment puts us in a strong position for the years to come.’
Other recent innovations in the John Lewis distribution network include the introduction of live chat on johnlewis.com and text messages direct from the ‘green van fleet’ when a delivery is on its way.